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Quarantine facilities in Assam University, NIT Silchar: Students express displeasure, concerns

Cachar Administration is mulling to requisite two higher education institutes of Silchar, to make makeshift quarantine centres “to further augment efforts to contain the spread of COVID19”.

As some nationwide lockdown norms have been relieved and migrants/ labourers stranded at remote localities are heading back towards their home, demands for quarantine centres have gone up manifold. To deal with this large influx, Cachar Administration is now planning to set up quarantine centres at Assam University and National Institute of Technology Silchar. The administration has already issued requisition-orders and despatched them to both the central government varsities.

While Assam University has handed over the campus facilities to the administration with “immediate” effect, it could not be known whether NIT Silchar has agreed to the proposal.

“District Disaster Management Act 2005 has requisitioned 20 buildings/facilities of the University for making Quarantine Centres and COVID Care Centres. These include Hostels (existing and newly constructed), Mukta Mancha, Sports complex, Student Amenity Centre, UN Brahma Hall, BR Community Hall, Canteen cum Departmental stores, Guest House, Kendriya Vidyalaya (existing and newly constructed), Day Care Centre etc. The requisition comes into force with immediate effect,” stated a notice signed by registrar in-charge of Assam University.

When asked about the arrangements, Cachar Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sumit Sattavan said the plan is still being worked out. “Administration is looking for it(Quarantine centres) and are working on bed details. Will get back with the exact details as soon as it is finalised,” said Sattavan.

However many students from both the institutes have expressed displeasure over handing their occupied hostel rooms for quarantine facilities.

Speaking with Barak Bulletin, President of Assam University Students’ Union, Biswaroop Bhattacherjee, said that they are concerned about the belongings that the students left back in their respective rooms. They expect the authorities will take care of their belongings. “There are some students residing in the hostels and authorities should ensure their safety. I knew that administration looking for setting up quarantine centre at here and we kept it in abeyance for 1 week so that our views are heard first. Though it has been annexed, I will urge the administration not to use the hostels and the day centre,” Bhattacherjee said.

Resonating similar concern and viewpoints, VP of NIT Silchar students union, Ashis Ranjan said it will be irrational to take all the hostels beds as of now. “We understand that at this moment of time saving lives is more important but there are student’s issues too, like their valuable belongings, extracurricular achievement certificates which are left behind in the hostel rooms. We have requested everyone in the loop not to break the locks of the student’s room but all depends on the situation as COVID has not shown any positive clue yet, rather worsen,” added Ranjan. 

Meanwhile, Cachar DC Keerthi Jalli along with her team visited Silchar Airport in Kumbhirgram to take stock of the situation. During the daily press briefing, spokespeople from the administration informed that NIT and Assam University will be used as quarantine centres for the passengers who will fly into the district from May 25, 2020, onwards. Sharing details about the standard operating procedure, the officials from the administration said that the passengers will be screened and tested in the airport itself. After collecting their samples they will be sent to facilities in NIT and University complex. How many days they will stay there in the quarantine facilities? “It will depend on the test-reports,” said the official. “If the passenger tests negative he or she will be allowed to go home on condition that he or she will remain indoors for at least 14 days,” concluded the officials. 

While the administration is well within its rights to use government properties as quarantine facilities the students’ concerns are genuine too. Their privacy and security of belongings should not get compromised… what unfolds remains to be seen. 



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